At a glance, old Kolkata is a medley of colourful, ramshackle houses, narrow, traffic-prone streets and ever cheerful people. However, every aspect of the city of joy is replete with historical and cultural significance. The unique blend of modern and old-fashioned lifestyle creates beautiful frames waiting to be captured on camera. Below are few handpicked subjects that are not-to-missed if you have a passion for photography and are currently in Kolkata.
The flat, rumbling sound when the iconic tram ambles past is instantly recognisable. Kolkata boasts the oldest electric tram system in Asia and the only tram network still functioning in India. Trams add to the old-world, romantic charm of Kolkata, a city which always has one foot rooted in its rich past! Naturally, trams are among the most admired attractions in Kolkata. So, don’t miss out on a tram ride and the chance to click some captivating pictures of the city!
Every photographer wants a frame-able photo of this famous symbol of Kolkata! Howrah Bridge is the sixth longest and the busiest cantilever bridge in the world! It bridges the city Kolkata with Hoogly across the Hoogly River. All Bollywood films shot in Kolkata feature the Howrah Bridge at least in one key scene, like Pradeep Sarkar’s Parineeta, Mani Ratnam’s Yuva and Anurag Basu’s Barfi! The best pictures of this landmark bridge can be taken during sunset from a ferry ride available at one of the ghats.
A classic picture of Kolkata during the 80s would be the huge line of yellow cabs backdropped by Oberoi Hotel at Esplanade. This iconic scene has faded away. The number of yellow painted ambassadors plying the city roads is fast diminishing. With convenient apps like Uber and Ola, the fleet of yellow taxis might soon be a thing of the past! So, besides iconic structures like Howrah Bridge and Victoria Memorial, make sure you take candid pictures of the legendary yellow taxis – non-A.C., emitting plumes of black smoke and driven by grey-uniformed drivers.
Tea in Clay Cups
Serving steaming, milky tea in small, handmade, clay cups, called bhar, is a long-standing tradition in Kolkata. It is believed that bhar imbues tea with a rich, earthy flavour. Moreover, this practice promotes the local pottery industry and is a nature-friendly alternative for plastic cups/glasses. Strolling through the streets of Kolkata anytime of the day, you’ll come across people from different walks of life sipping tea from bhar, engrossed in chat sessions (adda)!
The number of hand-pulled rickshaws in Kolkata is rapidly dwindling, but if you roam the dingy, narrow streets of old Kolkata you’ll still spot a few of these unique rickshaws plying. A typical puller begins his day at dawn, tirelessly ferrying people, schoolchildren and packages, especially around New Market and Burrabazar areas, and stopping for multiple chai (tea) breaks. These rickshaws have been operating on the roads of Kolkata for over 130 years, and are still the most identifiable symbol of the City of Joy!
A maze of narrow alleys where deft hands work round the clock to carve idols of mesmerizing beauty! Kumartuli, also known as potter’s abode, is a crammed north Kolkata locality drawing photo enthusiasts from all over the nation. Renowned photographers, like Raghu Rai, have strolled through these alleys capturing stunning frames loading the area. Depending on the time of the year, you’ll be able to capture potters moulding clay on straw and wood frames or the intricate drawing of eyes and facial features of the divine forms.
Besides wonderful frames to capture and heritage places to explore, tourists also seek affordable hotels in Kolkata. VIP hotel near Park Street Kolkata offers the best luxury stay at pocket-friendly rates. It has a central location close to sightseeing places, modern amenities and friendly, helpful staff.
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